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BlackBerry workaround not so sweet

An anonymous tester who's tried what he says is the workaround that RIM will use if the court upholds the NTP patent case and makes them change their service gives it five stars here. I disagree completely; this could be enough to make BlackBerry worthless to me, and I'm a huge BlackBerry fan. Disclaimer: I haven't seen this and I haven't discussed it with RIM. Caveat: the company has said the workaround would only apply in the US (and to BlackBerry users visiting the US) so UK users may not need to suffer. Double disclaimer: this is anonymous, rumour and unsubstantiated.

According to the post, the workaround will push email headers (subject/time/sender etc) but not the message body. That will be retrieved 'seamlessly' when you open the message - in the same way that BlackBerry today only downloads anything after the first 2K of the message when you scroll past the More marker.

Faster networks will make the pause while the message arrives much shorter; the new 8700g will be pretty speedy on Orange's new EDGE network, though not as fast as the Palm 700w on the US EVDO network (personal prediction here; perhaps a 3G Palm 700w for the UK in the second half of this year when the 3G radios eat less battery).

But it means you have to be in coverage to read your email - as opposed to looking at the message and thinking 'wow, I need to read that; shame I'm on the tube for the next 45 minutes with plenty of time to read and reply but no network connection'. If I have time to stop and retrieve email in coverage, it's not going to be any faster than stopping and hitting Send/Receive on a Windows Mobile device like the MDA Vario (where I get excellent predictive dialling and over the air synchronisation of my contacts and calendar without needing the BES server).

You just can't assume universal connectivity; that's the failing of many mobile systems. You need to handle offline and online smartly and seamlessly. The asynchronous 'it's just there' of BlackBerry is the secret sauce; that's why it's so much better a push email solution than anything else I've tried yet. Make me get involved, demand I push the right button at the right time and you've taken away much of the value. I find I'm hoping the NTP patents fail and the BlackBerry stays the same; and I do hope any changes don't happen during March when I'll be in the US, relying on my BlackBerry for email and blogging in motion.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
2nd Feb, 2006 21:22 (UTC)
I have a Blackberry 7100 that I'm rather curious about how well it'll work when I bring it over to the UK. I'm rather hoping that I'll still be able to send and receive SMS messages to and from the USA as well as to and from folks in the UK. I don't really use the e-mail features. And I can't figure out how to make Google Local work on it.
3rd Feb, 2006 01:06 (UTC)
I use a 7100g on Vodafone; Simon uses a 7100 on T Mobile. They both work in the US and the UK on GPRS (I can't wait to try an 8700g on EDGE with Orange). They send texts with no problems. The issue with texting US numbers is the historically poor interoperability of US networks with international networks. It's maybe 2 years since AT&T trumpeted that you could now text AT&T users from international networks. I've been able to text elimloth from a UK Blackberry roamed to Cingular in the US. Mail me your number time and I'll try it from the UK networks ;-)

Google Local you have to download as an app from (I think) www.google.com/glm/ - install and you get a new icon. Try also www.jiveslide.com for flickr on BlackBerrt.
2nd Feb, 2006 22:40 (UTC)
"The asynchronous 'it's just there' of BlackBerry is the secret sauce; that's why it's so much better a push email solution than anything else I've tried yet."

Exactly! That is what NTP claims, Lawsuits in Motion aka RIM has trampled on: NTP's key patent claim. RIM needs to pay for this trangression.

And perhaps the public will have a better understanding of the sordid mess the U.S. patent system has become too.
3rd Feb, 2006 01:01 (UTC)
I'm not sure why after agreeing to a settlement NTP tore it up and asked for more money; in the interests of users I'd like to se them decide who has the rights, set a fair licensing revenue and sort out the patent post-application life mess in a way that doesn't give all the money to the IP farmers. Mostly, quite honestly and selfishly, I want my BlackBerry to carry on being as useful as it is now.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )


full steam ahead
Mary Branscombe
Simon & Mary

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